Only one day after the hikers' photo of the fire was found, the families were able to pinpoint the exact location of the wreckage using Google Earth, how did they do it? Marcy's uncle outlines his efforts below.
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On top of Google Earth's detailed 3-D renderings of the area, we overlaid all the data we could find to help us reduce the searchable areas. As soon we saw the photos, we knew, as it was an area that fit all criteria in our database.
1. N2700Q radar track, w/altitudes, notes for "cellphone-off," track-loss, and Last Known Position, plus extrapolated courses beyond LKP.
2. Airport placemarks with archived (WeatherUnderground) weather-charts for 9/24/06, plus other search info.
3. Emergency HQ building (AZDEMA) placemark containing hyperlinks to critical search documents & maps.
4. Shaded altitude overlay polygons, showing flight limits due to terrain.
5. Huge shaded "spiderwork" overlay of "populated/visited" areas, including forest roads.
6. Radar stations w/shaded "vector curtains" showing terrain-masking effect from each station near and beyond end of N2700q radar track.
7. Civil Air Patrol search grid, showing quad #'s and number of CAP sorties flown in each quad.
8. Air & Ground search-tracks generated by us and other volunteer searchers. (Also: tracks of helicopter tour route).
9. Placemarks of aerial photos (hundreds) along each search track (placemarks self-orienting to camera perspective, many w/polygonal overlays showing area covered in photo)
10. Placemarks for Firetowers and post-crash Geocache site-visits (w/photos and/or observer notes where avail.).
11. High-voltage Powerlines (w/towers and "gorge-bridging" shown in critical areas).
12. Topographic map overlays, generated via GPSVisualizer (Note: Topo-map feature was added to GEarth only recently.)
13. Aircraft Sectional (chart) overlays
14. Placemarks showing "hit/miss" results of a radar coverage test run for us by USAF on 12/17/06.
15. Placemarks for old aircraft wrecks, each with hyperlink to NTSB report about the accident.